NBA teams will start their training camp later this month. LeBron James is already ahead of schedule, posting workout videos and photos with Anthony Davis. However, James has an off-court problem, as he is being sued over the rights to a movie.
Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzi has joined the long list of NBA legends who have praised Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nowitzki was very complimentary about the Milwaukee Bucks superstar during a news conference at the EuroBasket. Antetokounmpo is seeking to lead Greece to their third EuroBasket championship.
J.R. Smith claims he and four other veterans are being blackballed by NBA
J.R. Smith last played an NBA game in 2020, winning a championship with the LA Lakers.
He's currently studying and playing golf at the North Carolina A&T State University. However, the two-time champ believes the league is blackballing him and four other veterans, per Complex Sports.
"Anybody can sit here and tell you that that's a fact," Smith said. "You got the top three people on those 30 teams and exclude them. Give me the 4th through 15th men, just the four through 15. Name one of them that's better than me. But I'm sitting here like, 'Bro, I've worked out with these dudes."
"I've watched their GM come up to me and ask me, 'Why are you not playing?' You know why I'm not playing. I feel that it's a whole genre that happened to."
Smith added that he's not the only player blackballed by the NBA. He thinks Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Nick Young and Isaiah Thomas can all still play in the league.
LeBron James sued over film rights
LeBron James has had an eventful summer, playing in a couple of pro-am tournaments. He is getting ready for his 20th NBA season, moving closer to becoming the all-time scorer in league history. However, "The King" has a problem off the court heading into training camp.
According to The New York Post, the LA Lakers superstar has got sued over the rights for the movie "Black Ice." Rappers Drake and Future, as well as James' business partner, Maverick Carter, were all named as defendants. The suit was filed by former NBPA head Billy Hunter.
Hunter claims that he has the exclusive legal rights to produce any film about the Colored Hockey League. He's looking for $10 million in damages and seeking a share of profits from the documentary.
"Black Ice" is scheduled to be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10.
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Former NBA champions want to return to league after stint with Team USA
A couple of former NBA champions are trying to lead Team USA at the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup. Norris Cole and Patrick McCaw headline the Americans' roster, which is looking for their eighth AmeriCup championship.
Cole won championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. Meanwhile, McCaw won titles with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. He added a third one in 2019 as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
In an interview with the Associated Press, both Cole and McCaw said that they want a return to the league.
"I want to make it back to the NBA," McCaw said. "I know that's a process. And I know one day, whenever, next week, next month, next year, when it's supposed to happen, it'll happen. Right now, I'm just focusing on this USA, wearing these three letters, giving my all to this team and representing the United States of America."
"I still have the fire, the hunger. I still feel like I have something to prove, things that I would like to accomplish as a player. That feeling of winning a championship, the mission, the goal, the work to try to get to that point again. That's what drives me as a competitor, and I want that feeling again."
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Dirk Nowitzki praises Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo has got some harsh criticism from Gilbert Arenas recently. However, Dirk Nowitzki has come to the defense of Antetokounmpo, who is seeking to lead Greece to EuroBasket glory.
Nowitzki told reporters at a news conference in Milan on Monday that he's very impressed with the two-time MVP. The Dallas Mavericks legend had nothing but praise for Antetokounmpo, calling him one of the best players in the world currently.
"When I first saw him, he was this skinny kid," Nowitzki said. "Just to see the growth over him the last couple of years, he has gotten stronger. His skill level improved, and he seems very hungry to still get better, to work hard, to play for his country, work in the summer and come as an even better player the next year."
"He is one of the best players in the world and has shown it as a champion and an MVP. He is the first one to tell you, you can always improve. But if you look at what he is done already at such a young age, he is one of the best."
Top NBA free agents still available before start of training camp
NBA training camp will start later this month, but there are still some free agents who are unsigned.
Brett Siegel of Sports Illustrated listed 10 available players who could help teams get better. Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard are two such players who last played for the LA Lakers.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin are two former All-Star forwards who did not play much for the Brooklyn Nets last season. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are former Sixth Man of the Year winners, while Dennis Schroeder and Eric Bledsoe are still good role players.
Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Thomas are veteran point guards with different skills. Rondo is a pass-first guard, while Thomas can score in bunches.